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Lemon Mille-Feuille

close up of lemon mille feuille

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Ingredients

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For the Lemon Curd

  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 120 ml fresh lemon juice, strained and pulp removed (1/2 c)
  • 165 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 4 tsp cold water
  • 142 g (10 Tbs) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces, at room temperature

For the Mille Feuille

  • 7 sheets of filo dough, thawed
  • 227 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs granulated sugar
  • Powdered Sugar (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions

To Make the Lemon Curd Filling

  1. Fill a medium pot with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Turn the stove to high heat to quickly bring the water to a simmer, then turn the heat down so it stays at a simmer.
  2. Pour the gelatin and 4 tsp of cold water into a small bowl, stir, and set aside.
  3. Next, combine the egg yolks, whole eggs, fresh lemon juice, and granulated sugar in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water.
  4. Whisk the lemon curd until it is pale and thick. This takes about 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat, and set aside. Place the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to melt it, then add to the lemon curd and whisk. 
  6. Next, whisk in the cubes of butter until they are melted and combined with the curd.
  7. Place a piece of plastic directly on top of the curd so that the plastic touches it. Cover the bowl with another layer of plastic wrap to seal it well, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours so it sets. The lemon curd can be made up to 5 days ahead. 

To Make the Filo Dough Pastries

  1. First, clarify the butter. To do this, place the butter in a small pot over medium heat and melt. Skim the white fat solids off of the butter until no more remains. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove filo dough from the fridge, take it out of the packaging, and lay it out on a clean work surface (or on a cutting board). Immediately cover the dough with damp paper towels or a damp kitchen towel so that the dough doesn’t dry out.
  3. Take one sheet of filo dough and place it on a cutting board(or use a sheet pan). Gently brush the filo with the clarified butter using a pastry brush until the dough is lightly moist. Place another sheet of filo on top so it lines up on all four corners, and brush with clarified butter again. Repeat this process until you have 7 layers of phyllo dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes so that the dough can rest.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 F/160 C and line a rimmed half sheet pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle the parchment with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Next, remove the dough from the fridge and trim any rough edges. Cut the pastries into 3 1/2 by 1 1/2-inch rectangles. 
  6. Place the rectangles on the baking sheet in a 3 x 6 grid, keeping the filo dough pastries close together so they are still touching edge to edge.
  7. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Next, place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the pastries, then place a half sheet pan on top so that the filo is sandwiched between two trays. Bake for 18-20 minutes. 
  8. The pastries will be golden brown and crisp when done. Store in an airtight container if not using within an hour.

To Assemble the Lemon Mille-Feuille Pastries

  1. Remove the lemon curd from the fridge and stir. It should still be silky smooth.
  2. Spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a #10 or #12 round tip. Alternately, you can use a spoon to put the curd on the mille feuille layers.
  3. Lay out the mille feuille pastries in groups of three. Either pipe a layer of lemon curd onto the bottom layer of pastry, or use a spoon to gently spread the lemon curd so that it almost comes to the edges. 
  4. Top the lemon curd with a second mille-feuille, repeat with the lemon, and top with the last pastry.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream if desired. They are perfectly delightful as they are, so the topping is completely optional. 
  6. It is best to assemble the lemon mille-feuille pastries right before or within an hour of eating them. They will soften significantly if you refrigerate the crisp pastries, so avoid it if you can!

Notes

This recipe has been inspired by the Balthazar Cookbook.